Residents in Euxton are demanding a public apology after a parish council was found to have breached the Data Protection Act.
Campaigners who fought plans to create football pitches in Euxton complained to the Information Commissioner’s Office after their names and addresses were published on the parish council website.
They claim they had not been told that their details would be made public after agreeing to support a motion for a parish poll at a public meeting. However, a full list of all 19 residents and their addresses was published on the internet, a move that outraged the campaigners.
Mark Parr, who was one of those included, said: “We called for a parish poll to be held as we were unhappy with how we were being treated by Euxton Parish Council who were fronting the plans for the football pitches.
“At the meeting we were told by the clerk that it would need to be supported by a number of residents in order for it to proceed and that she needed to collect names and addresses so she could check them against the electoral role.
“It was a point that everybody accepted, but after the result of the poll was announced, a full list of names and addresses of the residents who had supported the call was put on the website. It was like a public naming and shaming.”
Mr Parr said he contacted the parish council to ask them to take down the article, but they refused and referred him to the Information Commissioner’s Office.
He lodged an official complaint and they found that they had breached part of the act.
An ICO spokesman said: “From the information provided it seems likely that all those attending the meeting were made aware that the meeting would be minuted and those minutes would be published.
“However, subsequently those supporting the motion were told that their details were being taken in order to check them against the Electoral Roll. This meant it was not clear whether those details would form part of the minutes of the meeting.
“Clearer information should have been given at the time about whether those details would be included in the published minutes.”
The ICO also dismissed the council’s argument that the information had been volunteered at a public meeting and therefore by uploading it on to the website there was no further disclosure of personal data.
The spokesman added: “A disclosure of personal data to a meeting of 50 or 60 people is by its nature limited and as such publishing this information on the internet would represent a further wider disclosure of your details.
“Having said this there is a clear purpose to publishing the minutes of the meeting.
“However, the inclusion of the addresses of those who supported the motion is likely to be excessive for those purposes.”
Parish clerk, Debra Platt said she was unable to comment on the decision as she had responded to the ICO and had not presented the findings to the full council for consideration.
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